ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Not an Absent Dialogue

The Absent Dialogue: Politicians, Bureaucrats, and the Military in India edited by Anit Mukherjee, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2020; pp xvii + 313, ₹ 1,100 .

The Researcher’s Guide to the Indian Bureaucracy

A researcher reflects on approaching and gathering information from the vast and diverse bureaucracy of the Indian state.

Forest Rights Act in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

The emergence of the Forest Rights Act reasserted the vitality of the role people play in conservation and management of natural resources and carving out legal channels for recognition of their forest rights. But, in Himachal Pradesh, the FRA suffers at the hands of a bureaucracy that has buried it under the weight of colonial power structures. The conflicting narratives from Kinnaur are discussed, where instead of being recognised under the FRA, the tribals’ identity and forest dependence are being ripped away from them.

There Is a Glaring Gender Bias in Death Registrations in India

In the absence of a reliable Civil Registration System in India, the sample registration system, beginning in 1970, has been the only source of information that allows us to track the Sustainable Development Goals, calculate the human development index, and measure sex ratios. Since 2001, however, there has been no attempt to examine the quality of the sample registration system. In this context, the present article carries out such an exercise and finds that there was an undercounting of deaths in India by around 4.3% for males and 11.3% for females during 2001 – 10.

A Tale of Tangled Lines

​ A Bureaucrat Fights Back: The Complete Story of Indian Reforms by Pradip Baijal, Noida: HarperCollins, 2016; pp xvi +366, ₹ 499.

Has the IAS Failed the Nation?

The decision to recruit experts from the open market in certain departments at the level of joint secretaries is not enough to radically professionalise the civil service. Internal specialisation must be promoted by insisting on stable tenure in the states so that there is incentive for the Indian Administrative Service officers to acquire expertise in their chosen sectors. Also, the IAS officers should take the entry of the outsiders as a challenge, because if they do not improve their performance, there could be repetition of such recruitment every year.

A House of Cards

The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, which apply to all public servants in the country, date from colonial times and are reflective of a colonial mindset. Civil servants no longer want to be treated as unruly kids ignorant of their roles and responsibilities. These dated rules must be consigned to the dustbin of history and replaced by a new code of ethics based on self-regulation, accountability, and transparency.

Bureaucracy and Border Control

Studies on militarisation and borders in South Asia have often remained focused on zones of spectacular conflict such as Kashmir, or Punjab during the partition. This article tracks the production of a discourse on borders by those charged with border security such as the police and other senior bureaucracy in the decades following the partition. It suggests that the “border question” evolved gradually out of a series of everyday concerns over local criminality that finally coalesced into the more abstract category of “national security.” It examines bureaucratic debates on police reorganisation in Kutch between 1948 and 1952 to suggest that contemporary discourses on nation and borders were arrived at through intra-bureaucratic negotiations with the far less abstract categories of village, locality and region.

Remembering to Forget

. Lying on the Postcolonial Couch: The Idea of Indifference by Rukmini Bhaya Nair; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2003; pp XXXI + 308, Rs 595.

Perils of a Self-Serving Bureaucracy

This article suggests that without diverting expenditures from large-sized, overstaffed establishments the government will not be able to address the problems of corruption and incompetence in the public sector. The lack of clarity on the role of government and an over-extended regulatory framework also act as a brake on private sector investment and production.

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